Private Health Insurance: Am I covered overseas?

  

Having private health insurance has many benefits – it can cover you for doctor and hospital visits, and it can provide cover for extras such as physio and dental – however, for the most part, private health insurance will not cover you when travelling overseas.

Although it will depend on your provider, you will usually find that most Australian health insurance providers will only cover you for treatment within Australia – and when you travel overseas, you will no longer be covered.

That means it’s generally recommended that you buy travel insurance to cover you when you’re travelling outside Australia. Travel insurance policies cover a number of aspects of travel, such as lost luggage, stolen belongings, legal fees, and medical treatment.

Just like private health insurance, travel insurance comes in many shapes and sizes, allowing you to choose a policy that suits you and the kind of trip you are taking. You can choose the amount of time you are covered, what countries you are covered for, and the level of cover you will require, you can click here to learn more.

Similar to private health insurance, where you can choose different levels of cover – from basic, to mid-level, to complete or comprehensive cover – travel insurance providers usually offer different cover levels, where basic cover is the cheapest, and mid and complete cover cost a bit more.

When choosing travel insurance for your trip, you will need to work out how much cover you need, and how much you can afford to pay – again, just as you would when choosing private health insurance.

If your private health insurance provider also offers other insurance products, such as travel insurance, you may be able to claim a discount when you take out a travel insurance policy with them. Be sure to ask when you are signing up for the policy, you can find out more at the HBF website.

It’s also worth remembering that you will not be covered by Medicare when you travel overseas. However, Australia does have a reciprocal health care agreement with certain countries, where Australian travellers are covered by the host country’s public health system.

That means when you visit Finland, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom, you should be eligible to receive necessary medical treatment under the reciprocal agreement.

Speak to your health insurance provider before you travel to check whether you are covered overseas, if not, find out if you need to suspend your policy. If you are going overseas for an extended period of time, you may be allowed to suspend your health insurance policy.

If you do this, be sure to ask whether the suspension will affect any waiting periods served. Suspension should not affect Lifetime Health Cover loading.

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